Biggest football transfer: Stuart Pearce comes out of retirement!

Stuart Pearce

In what has to be the biggest news of the January transfer market, the so-called ‘worst team in English football’, Longford AFC, have coaxed England and Nottingham Forest legend Stuart Pearce out of retirement and into their defensive ranks.

The former England defender won 78 caps for his country in a glittering career, playing most notably for Forest, before going on to manage Manchester City and England’s under-21s as well as a short and ill-fated spell in charge of Forest.

His final hurrah as a player, however, will be for Longford AFC, dubbed the worst team in the UK due to the fact that they sit bottom of the Gloucestershire Northern Senior League Division Two and have lost all 19 of their games this season, their first goal coming in a 9-1 defeat on 13 January.

They have managed to secure Pearce’s signature as part of a marketing campaign for Direct Line, but his experience may not be enough to turn around the fortunes of a team with a goal difference of minus 180, especially given his lack of pace and athleticism!

Pearce said he, “Jumped at the chance” to join the amateur club, citing the fact that “Grassroots is essential to the lifeblood of the game”.

 

Jurgen Klopp broke his glasses while celebrating Liverpool’s dramatic win

Jurgen Klopp - GettyImages-506408902.0

During the celebrations of Adam Lallana’s dramatic match-winning goal capping off a ridiculous 5-4 match, Jurgen Klopp broke his glasses. The Liverpool boss stormed the celebration pile with no regard for his own safety.

Vardy breaks Van Nistelrooy’s record against Manchester United

Jamie Vardy

Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy has broken Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in consecutive Premier League games, with his strike against Manchester United making it goals in 11 games in a row for the sprightly forward.

The England international has been a revelation this season and leads the top flight goal chart with 14 strikes to date.

It has been quite the journey to the game’s summit for Vardy, who is a former non-league player that has worked hard to improve and now is an international star.

The gifted attacker struck in the first half at the King Power Stadium to give the hosts the lead yesterday, before Bastian Schweinsteiger’s equaliser resulted in the spoils being shared in a 1-1 draw.

Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri maintained that his side’s aim remains to stay safe in the top flight and revealed his happiness that Vardy has broken Van Nistelrooy’s record, he told The Guardian:

“I told the players to win and try and help Jamie break the record,”

“I am really pleased he has done, we can all be very proud about it and I hope he carries on, but the real target this season is 40 points and now we have 11 to go. That is our project, and we are getting there.”

Jürgen Klopp On “Serious Pain” and Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge - Getty

Liverpool’s manager says the striker must be aware of the difference between pain and serious pain after the striker’s latest injury setback.

Isaac Newton’s relatively obscure Fourth Law of Motion states that if Daniel Sturridge is moving towards a return to regular playing time, there will also be an injury moving directly towards him arriving just in time to ensure he never steps foot on the pitch.

Sturridge—the most talented striker at the club—is injured. Again. The striker was ruled out of Thursday’s victory over Bordeaux with a foot injury. With Daniel Sturridge, injuries and niggles seem to keep on coming. For Klopp, however, there is some learning to do when it comes to managing pain.

The situation is Daniel was very often injured in the last few months, and maybe years, so it is normal when you get back in training usually it is not the quality, but you need training. Your body has to learn to adapt to new intensities of training and in this time you have to learn what is serious pain and what is only pain. When Daniel comes back after this long break you would train five weeks in a row and play only in friendly games. That would be the best, but of course we know the world is not perfect so we have to try the best and the quickest.It is a really long period so now we have to stay patient I am sorry to say. I’m sorry for you, sorry for me, sorry for him.

We’re all sorry and probably more than a little frustrated at the moment, but it’s important to remember that the player isn’t suffering injuries on purpose or part of some shady scheme to hamper Liverpool’s prospects. Sturridge has missed an incredible 68 games for Liverpool and played in 70 games, underlining the need for depth up front.

Liverpool will hope that this latest setback is just part of the recovery process as Klopp pointed out, but there may be a possibility that Sturridge’s problems with injuries aren’t just physical. It’s difficult to say either way without intimate knowledge of the situation, but hopefully the scans will bring good news so that Sturridge can be available for action relatively soon.

Jürgen Klopp “Not Satisfied” with Manchester City rout

Jurgen Klopp

There’s no question that new manager Jürgen Klopp has, in just a month at his new club, changed Liverpool for the better.  After more than a year marked by dull football and some very poor results, the changes wrought by the German in a few short weeks have been nothing short of miraculous.

The best performances and results, recently have come away from Anfield.  Two fantastic results against Chelsea and Manchester City; a tense and well earned three points in difficult conditions in Russia; a promising, pressing first performances against Tottenham.  On the road, Liverpool have looked great.  At home, there’s still work to be done.

Klopp said following Saturday’s victory:

“I would love to win a game like this at Anfield.  That’s our next challenge.  We now play Bordeaux and then Swansea, and at this moment I don’t know enough about Swansea.  If they saw our game against Crystal Palace maybe they will stay with 50 people deep in the space and shoot only long balls.”

The manager is confident that he can come up with solutions, and that by the time Swansea arrive at Anfield he will know how to approach the match:

“We have to find a solution.  And we will have a solution.  But then we have to score goals in the right moments.  On and on.  Development.  We need results like this, we need performances like this, so that we start believing in ourselves.  Now we have more confidence.  Everybody could see it.  We are not satisfied, though.”

Liverpool’s improvement under Klopp has been stunning, and with it continuing against Manchester City following the November international break it’s clear it’s not just a case of the new manager bump.  There are real, tangible improvements on display; a new mode of play and a newfound belief on display.  And there’s still room for improvement.

Let’s see what happens against Swansea this weekend.

Liverpool FC need a striker

Despite spending in excess of £50m (or over £60m, depending on which reports you believe) to land Christian Benteke and Roberto Firmino to bolster their attacking ranks over the summer, Liverpool have been poor in front of goal. Nobody really needed statistics to prove that statement, but OuLaLa.com have been on the prowl, and have discovered that the Reds are officially THE WORST side in front of goal in the Premier League after 12 games.

Shot Conversion Rate

184 shots and just 13 goals gives us a conversion rate of only 7.1%, putting us directly below Watford and Aston Villa… both of whom operate on a fraction of the budget being slashed around at Anfield.  Okay, the 10 goals of Jurgen Klopp’s reign in all competitions from 122 shots boosts this rating to 8.2% of late, but even that it a cause for concern, and looking to the top of this ‘division’ could be the answer.

Already linked with Liverpool, Jamie Vardy is currently banging the goals in for the most prolific side in Premier League, with 12 all told for Leicester.

The top-scoring striker from the best team in front of the net? Makes sense, doesn’t it?

Klopp underlines Liverpool FC’s commitment to Capital One Cup

Jurgen Klopp LFC pre-match

Jürgen Klopp insists Liverpool will treat the Capital One Cup as ‘the most important cup in the world’ when they face AFC Bournemouth in the fourth round on Wednesday.

A place in the quarter-finals of the competition is at stake when the Reds resume their campaign against Eddie Howe’s men at Anfield tomorrow.

Although the manager admitted he may need to make changes to his team as they face a fourth fixture in the space of just 11 days, he was keen to emphasise that it is not because cup success is not a priority:

“It is the same thing in Germany, the cups are very important – but when I came here, everyone said we [Borussia Dortmund] won the title twice.  Nobody said we were the first double winners in Dortmund’s history.  In Germany, [the cups] are a very important thing – but [in England] it was more interesting that we’d played in the final of the Champions League.”

“I have not been here long to understand fully the English feeling about the cups, but for me they are all the same – I want to win games. That is all.  I don’t want to give up before we have to. It is the most important cup in the world because it is the only game we will play tomorrow.”

Liverpool have scored just two goals in the three draws Klopp has overseen since taking the reins at Anfield.  But the German is working hard to identify the issues that are causing his players to stutter in the final third and knows it is not down to a lack of quality in the squad:

“These players have the skills to make goals, so many skills are great.  But in the decisive moments we don’t make the right decisions, that’s always how football looks when you’re not in the perfect shape.  I don’t think there’s any doubt about the quality of the players and we have to learn more and more and try and understand why things happen like they happen.  We don’t have too much time for this [in training] so each game is very, very important.  That’s what I saw [against Southampton] and now I have to understand and work with this information but that’s only one thing.”

Klopp also offered his thoughts on the ongoing development of his team, which has been somewhat hampered by the inability to train regularly due to a packed fixture schedule.  The 48-year-old says it is normal to take a small step backward before progressing but has been surprised by how quickly the squad has adapted to his methods thus far.

“How I understand development is, if you bring new information, you go a step down usually, then you can start and it goes in the other direction.  That’s pretty normal. We all want that they can play from [a high level] but it’s time you need to change your movements and all these things.  I’m surprised by how big the steps we’ve taken are but of course everybody can see we need the results.  My faith in this team is big and all the players who work with us since I’m here have a good working atmosphere.”

“I like what I do and if somebody hoped that it’s quicker or faster then I’m sorry for this but I don’t think it’s better that we win the first game and don’t know why.  I think it’s important that we find a way that we win games in the future and know why, then we can take this into the next game and know if we make this better that we’ll get better.”

Klopp to Speak with FA Over Preventable Rossiter Injury

Jordan Rossiter

You can insert your “beating a dead horse” jokes here, but Jürgen Klopp isn’t wrong that treating young players like slaughtered stallions maybe isn’t the best way to ensure their proper development.

You know Jürgen Klopp is settling in as Liverpool manager when he is already embroiled in his very first disagreement with the FA. Like many of his predecessors, Klopp found himself angry with the powers that be in England’s national team set up when young Jordan Rossiter played an unheard of three full matches in the span of five days for England’s U19 side.

Klopp said on the subject.

“These young players are our future.  If we handle them like horses, we get horses. Rossiter is a special story. I don’t know who I have to talk to about this but I will find a way to talk with somebody about this because it is not OK.”

Presumably England is aware that young players like Rossiter are their future as well, not just Liverpool’s, yet that hasn’t prevented them from overplaying a youngster who will now miss Klopp’s first Europa League match due to a hamstring injury picked up on international duty.

The England U19s are in the midst of qualifying for the U19 European Championship taking place next summer in Germany. The Liverpool Echo is under the impression that there was added pressure for England to finish top of their group, which they ultimately did with seven points from three matches.

Whether an injury to the omnipresent Rossiter was worth it to the FA remains to be seen, but nonetheless England’s governing body for football will allegedly be reaching out to Klopp regarding his concerns. It wouldn’t be going too far to suggest that he’s unlikely to be satisfied by their explanations.

Liverpool FC confirm Jürgen Klopp appointment

Jurgen Klopp LFC

Liverpool’s leadership have acted swiftly to appoint Jürgen Klopp as Brendan Rodgers’ successor as manager.

Liverpool Football Club have confirmed the appointment of Jürgen Norbert Klopp as Liverpool manager. A one-club man as a player, Klopp showed his talents at Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund with a tactical system based on gegenpressing, fast breaks, and exciting football. Željko Buvač and Peter Krawietz are expected to join Klopp as part of new coaching team at Anfield after letting Gary McAllister, Sean O’Driscoll, Chris Davies, and Glen Driscoll go. McAllister, however, will remain with the club in an ambassadorial position.

The 48-year-old agreed a three-year contract to succeed Brendan Rodgers in the dugout in his first coaching position outside of his native Germany. He has been the overwhelming fan-favourite for the job since the summer and brings hope of a revival at Anfield. FSG have lived up to promises of acting “in a decisive and timely manner” to secure the services of one of football’s most sought-after managers. Within a week of sacking Rodgers, Liverpool have one of the most exciting figures in the game as a replacement.

After a disappointing campaign, the former Borussia Dortmund head coach left his role at the North Rhine-Westphalia club in the summer to take a sabbatical after 14 years of coaching without a break. He also spent his entire playing career at Mainz 05 before succeeding Eckhard Krautzun in the dugout. After making history with Mainz by steering them to a first Bundesliga appearance, Klopp resigned after failing to achieve promotion.

The footballing philosophy, charisma, and bright mind displayed during Klopp’s tenure at Mainz 05 was rewarded with a position immediately after officially departing a club where he spent 21 years as player and head coach. Thomas Doll’s struggles at Borussia Dortmund created an opening, and the Stuttgart native enhanced his reputation in his second coaching job by winning two Bundesliga titles, destroying Bayern Munich to win the club’s third DFB-Pokal, and reaching the club’s second-ever Champions League final.

Jürgen Klopp becomes Liverpool’s twentieth full-time manager. Liverpool is only the third club to be associated with Klopp in a senior playing and coaching career that began in 1989.

Klopp’s first game will be at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur after the international break.

Brendan Rodgers sacked as Liverpool FC manager

Brendan Rodgers - 1

A draw with Everton wasn’t enough to save Brendan Rodgers, as with the arrival of the October international break FSG have acted quickly to end Brendan Rodgers’ tenure at the club.

The Merseyside derby at Goodison Park was to be Brendan Rodgers’ last game at the club after FSG released a statement that confirmed the club had parted way with the former Swansea City manager. On the official site, the three main figures at FSG jointly shared the following:

We would like to place on record our sincere thanks to Brendan Rodgers for the significant contribution he has made to the club and express our gratitude for his hard work and commitment.

All of us have experienced some wonderful moments with Brendan as manager and we are confident he will enjoy a long career in the game.

Although this has been a difficult decision, we believe it provides us with the best opportunity for success on the pitch. Ambition and winning are at the heart of what we want to bring to Liverpool and we believe this change gives us the best opportunity to deliver it.

The search for a new manager is underway and we hope to make an appointment in a decisive and timely manner.

Rodgers can’t have any complaints after being strongly supported in the summer after a disastrous end to last season. The problem was that his signings in the summer and tactical preparations in pre-season didn’t make sense with the formation deployed over the past few weeks. He was given a chance to right the wrongs of last season but needed to start quickly. That didn’t happen and FSG have acted promptly.

For 18 months, Rodgers brought exciting football and the most credible title challenge in a generation. That work fell apart after August last year, but FSG acted before the October international break to presumably give the club enough time to appoint a new manager. It’s a shame that Rodgers couldn’t make it work at a club that gave him a platform to learn, develop, and display his credentials. He tried his best, though.

Hopefully Liverpool can appoint Carlo Ancelotti or Jürgen Klopp before another team has the sense to do so.

Europe’s most expensive football squads revealed

A new study has revealed the most expensive squads across Europe’s top five leagues and one of the eye-catching statistics is the fact Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool squad cost more than German champions and European titans Bayern Munich, according to the Football Observatory. 

The Reds splashed out a hefty amount of money this summer with eight players coming to Anfield in the form of Christian Benteke, Joe Gomez, Nathaniel Clyne and Roberto Firmino.

Meanwhile, Bayern were also busy with Douglas Costa and Arturo Vidal amongst those to come in, but it seems as though the Bavarian giants could do with giving Rodgers some advice on how to conduct shrewd transfer business.

The aforementioned study reveals that Liverpool’s squad costs €344 million – the fourth most expensive in the Premier League – whilst Bayern’s is €337 million – the most in Germany, but seven million less than the Reds.

Football Squads

Meanwhile, the study also confirms – not much of a surprise – that Manchester City have assembled the most expensive squad in England, after bringing in the likes of Raheem Sterling, Nicolas Otamendi and Kevin De Bruyne this summer.

Rafa Benitez will have to cope with severe pressure this season after it was also revealed his squad is nearly €200 million more than rivals Barcelona, whilst the gulf in class is evident in Ligue 1 – Paris Saint-Germain’s closest rivals Monaco have a squad which is nearly €400 million cheaper.

Top 20 most expensive squads in Europe:

1. Real Madrid (€587m)
2. Manchester City (€560m)
3. Manchester United (€533m)
4. Paris Saint-Germain (€525m)
5. Chelsea (€407m)
6. Barcelona (€396m)
7. Liverpool (€344m)
8. Bayern Munich (€337m)
9. Arsenal (€305m)
10. Juventus (€301m)
11. Tottenham Hotspur (€231m)
12. Valencia (€226m)
13. Inter Milan (€212m)
14. Napoli (€185m)
15. Southampton (€182m)
16. Atlético Madrid (€180m)
17. Wolfsburg (€163m)
18. AS Roma (€160m
19. Newcastle United (€157m)
20. AS Monaco (€152m)

Loving the new West Ham 2015-2016 away kit

Just sitting watching Match of the Day Two and I’m loving the new West Ham United 2015-2016 Away Kit.

It mirrors the kit worn between 1901-1903, while the new West Ham 15-16 Home Kit draws inspiration from the shirt worn in the first season at Upton Park in 1904.

West Ham 2015-2016 away kit

Umbro makes the new West Ham 15-16 Kits after the English Premier League club and West Ham United signed a 5-year kit deal in April 2015, replacing long-term supplier Adidas. Betway again sponsors the new West Ham United Shirts.

The new West Ham 15-16 Away Kit features a sky blue body with a striking with a claret band across the chest. West Ham United’s 2015-16 Away Kit mirrors the uniform worn between 1901-1903, which was the first Hammers Kit to boast the now-iconic club colours claret and sky blue.

West-Ham-United-15-16-Away-Kit (6)

The front of the new West Ham boasts a claret diagonal stripe detail and features the monochromatic white commemorative West Ham crest.

Sky blue shorts and sky blue socks with a claret hoop complement the new West Ham United 15-16 Away Kit.